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Easternmost Greek Macedonia and Greek Thrace

Porto Lagos

Porto Lagos mapSoutheast of the Thracian city of Xanthi, and south of shallow Lake Vistonidha, the village of Porto Lagos is roughly in the center of a vast region of coastal wetlands, noted mostly for its fabulous birdlife, with more than 300 species recorded.

Near the port itself are lagoons, sandbars, beaches, reedbeds, scrubland and woodland, with three kinds of herons in the last. There are many breeding birds, including large numbers of greater flamingos. After the Evros area, it is the second best site in Greece for slender-billed curlew. Though visitors should be warned against cold (and even frost) in winter, if one comes then one will see large numbers of Dalmatian pelicans, and white pelicans (though less in numbers), pygmy cormorants, and many north European ducks and geese. Many other birds can be seen here, too numerous to mention; amphibians, terrapins, and aquatic snakes are also plentiful, as are mammals.

picThe mammals include foxes, brown hares, hedgehogs, jackals, otters, wild cat, roe deer, and wolves (though few in number). Dolphins are also seen swimming offshore.

Flora is not exceptional, though the low dunes near the coast can have interesting plants, especially between March and July. Wooded areas along streams have lovely flowering manna ashes in May, as well as elms, white willow, Oriental plane.

sea peacockSummer is the time to see flowering plants in the saltmarshes. To complete the list, damselflies and dragonflies are present in large numbers and fish life is quite diverse, with some 34 species counted. The area is quite accessible from the coast road, with many side roads off of it, and there is an excellent visitor center where one can get good information about the site which is located just west of Porto Lagos on the main road.

Lake Ismaridha

East of the village of Porto Lagos about 15 km (9.3 miles), is this large freshwater lake, also known as Lake Mitrikou. It covers 840 acres (340 hectares), and is quite shallow, with a maximum depth of 1.5 meters (4.92 feet). Many floating plants cover it in summer and there are reedbeds along the margins with herons, terns, and other birds. The lake is frequented by many kinds of birds, and there are also good numbers of dragonflies and damselflies. Lesser roads from Pagouria or Neo Sidirohori lead to the lake, and are sign-posted.